Which Eye Doctor Should You Visit?

Published on
January 20, 2022

You may have more than one eye doctor as part of your care team, each serving a different role in maintaining the health and vision of your eyes.

The patient usually already has an ophthalmologist, who is a MD, and an optometrist, who is an OD.

A patient with low vision may need to see additional specialists. In cases of macular degeneration which impacts retinal health, they may visit a retinal specialist who is an ophthalmologist. In addition, regardless of the cause of their vision loss, they need to see a low vision optometrist.  

What is a low vision optometrist's role? 

The low vision optometrist treats people who have certain conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, they work with people who were born with a condition that caused them to lose their vision.

In spite of the fact that age is the primary cause of vision loss, there are many other causes as well. 

Low vision optometrists are responsible for understanding a patient's remaining vision, which then allows them to help the patient understand what can be done to maximize their vision and provide them with the best vision possible. 

A low vision evaluation may include digital images, tests for visual fields (peripheral and side vision), testing for color contrast and glare problems, and in-depth conversations with the low vision optometrist. 

More can be done

Patients with low vision are often told that there is nothing more they can do, but the truth is that there is a lot that can be done to help them improve their vision. Low vision optometrists spend time to identify the visual tasks that patients value most, and work with the patients to maximize their vision so they can regain their independence. There are many options for maximizing remaining vision with aids and devices. These options include handheld and optical magnifiers, filters for glare and color contrast, lighting, digital devices, tools for the computer and phone, reading glasses, driving glasses, and so much more. 

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